How to draw a building plan to scale in 4 simple steps

7th June 2021
Harrison Price

Scale your building Plans

You’re probably here because you want to know how to draw a floor plan and be able to draw the building to scale. I’m going to take you through 4 simple steps to from the idea to the final product.

Scale floor plans and scaled building drawings are needed for a variety of reasons including architectural purposes, planning applications, permitted development projects and even fire escape plans. You may want to plan your house to scale to make sure furniture fits or you’re looking to build something within your space. Whatever your use, lets get planning:

Equipment List

Before we start, there are a few items you’re going to need:

Step
1

Knowing your subject building

Know your subject property

Knowing your property will set you on a good foot when starting to build your scale plan. A few things to remember:

Walk around

Take a look at the outside. Ask yourself the questions “is it square around the outside?”, “are there any walls that jut out?” or even “where does my property start and the neighbours begin?”. These questions and their answers will help you get a better initial understanding of the property.

Familiarise yourself

Walk around the property to familiarise yourself, a small 2 bed house will take a shorter time than a 20 unit business centre but take your time to get your bearings. Knowing where the rooms meet each other and whether the hallways are standard in their shape or have irregular angles will aid you in condensing your drawn plan to one page.

Note the location and orientation

Visualise your properties footprint. What shape is it? Is it square? Rectangular? Maybe it has extensions that make is a series of rectangles. Whatever the shape, knowing what design is will help you later when drawing your scale floor plan. Think about the building’s orientation too, which way is North and how does the property come together?

Step
2

Sketch (or scan) your building

Sketch or Scan your building for your scale plan

There are apps and equipment available to allow you to scan a property to get the necessary information to create a scale floor plan but for the purposes of this guide, we’re going to use the sketching method.

Metric or imperial?

When sketching your property, you’ll want to choose whether you work better with metric or imperial. Choose this now along with the units you want to record your measurements in. Personally, I like to measure in the metric unit centimetres – this allows me to write down numbers and not worry about a decimal point when jotting down numbers. When sketching on your squared paper, also consider scaling your drawing by using 1 square per foot or 3 squares per metre.

Equipment ready

Start in the corner of the building on the ground floor and measure from wall to wall. If you’re using a tape measure, you might find it easier for someone to help you so that you can measure over the top of furniture, alternatively, you can lay the tape on the floor. Draw the walls and write down the measurements you’re recording on your squared paper. Continue to do this until you have a closed room.

Windows and doors

Let’s assume the room is rectangular and you have two measurements: the length and width. Now you need to add the other features of the room such as the doors, windows and chimney breasts. Follow the same process, measure from the corner to the window, the window width and note it on the plan. Do this to the other windows and doors to complete the room.

Internal wall thicknesses

Move to the next room and follow the same steps but now, measure from one room through to the next. This will allow us to record the internal wall thickness.

Total Room measurement – Room 1 Width – Room 2 Width = Wall Thickness

Kitchens and bathrooms

Methodically move around the property, recording all the necessary measurements. When it comes to bathrooms and kitchens, you’ll want to show the location of the fixtures. Note where the bath, toilet and basin is within the room and where the countertops run from and to within a kitchen.

Step
3

Using CAD Design

Using CAD design to create your scale floor plan

Now you have the scaled sketch of your property, Let’s look at tidying it up and converting it using CAD design.

DIY conversion

Although the result will be rewarding, attempting to convert your sketch to a computerised CAD scaled building plan will be hard. Many software providers charge on a subscription basis and can be fairly costly. We would always recommend using a service to convert your sketches for you.

CAD conversion service

We can help you convert your sketch! Using your measurements and a scan of your sketches, we can convert this to the required digital files you need – usually DWG but can supply PDFs too.

When we convert your sketches, we ensure that the plan passes all the quality checks and is in a suitable scale for you. For instance, we typically scale our drawings to 1:50 or 1:100 and at a paper size of A3. If you don’t have the facility to print at anything larger than A4, you can either use our Print & Send service or we can scale your drawings to fit an A4 page.

Hit print!

As mentioned above, we usually scale to an A3 page but no matter what size you’re printing at, you need to make sure it’s printed as intended. When you open the PDF and open up the printing dialog box, you need to make sure that you’re printing to 100% and the PDF reader is not going to downscale the drawing to ‘fit the page’.

Step
4

Check your scale

Checking your scale drawing

The hard bits are done and you can now scale off of your printed plan.

Take a good look at your work

You took the measurements and the plan has been drawn to those numbers. Take your time to have a good look and have a visual check of the plan to ensure it is correct. Look for where rooms meet, the outline shape of the building, the placement of doors and windows.

Ready your scale ruler

If your plan was printed to 1:100, turn your scale ruler to the side that corresponds with that scaling ratio and place it on your plan. Now any measurement you take from the plan using the ruler will display the true 1:1 distance of the space. Use this technique to check the distances against your sketch and you’ll see that your scale ruler will match your measurements.

Conclusion

You have now used the 4 simple steps in order to create and draw a building plan to scale. These steps and techniques aren’t limited to just scale floor plans, you can create scaled sections and elevation drawings using the same methods

We offer scaled floor plans and full measured surveys as part of our services. If you need any help with your project, get in touch and contact us

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